By: Eric Penner Haury
For: Red Rock News
Date: April 12, 2013
Sedona Artistâ€™s Work Featured at Library
My nameâ€™s Eric.
I volunteer at the Sedona Public Library. Virginia Volkman invited
me to write this weekâ€™s article because Iâ€™m involved with an exciting
event that will be held at the Library on April 14.
Have you ever been to
the Bank of America here in Sedona? If so, did you notice a picture
in the corner of Navajo men riding horses into the distance, hooves
kicking up dust that blurs into canyon walls? The color is faded
from years in intense light, but the beauty and artistâ€™s skill remain.
Do you know who painted that?
His name was Jeffrey LungĂ©.
He lived here in Sedona. He was a prominent Arizona artist and
On April 14, at 4:00 PM,
the Sedona Public Library will present Jeffrey LungĂ©: Visions of the Southwest. In words and
pictures -- including many of his paintings, some on slides, some hanging
in the room -- we will celebrate Jeffreyâ€™s life and work, as well
as offer for sale a book of his art with the same title as the presentation.
Born in London, an immigrant
to the Americas, Jeffrey was introduced to the Southwest by his brother-in-law
(my grandfather) Ned Danson. Danson was a Southwestern anthropologist
here in Arizona who went on to run Flagstaffâ€™s Museum of Northern
Arizona. (And the fact that his name sounds like Ted Danson is
no coincidence.) On family trips, Ned introduced Jeffrey to what
would be the central theme of his art: the Southwest, its vast,
beautiful environments, and its peoples.
Danson recalled, â€śI
told him to ask me to stop whenever he saw a mesa or a cliff, a tree
or a vista he wanted to sketch. Jeff opened my eyes to the beauty
of this part of the world. I knew I loved itâ€”but with his artistâ€™s
eye he would show me things I would have ignoredâ€”colors I hadnâ€™t
â€śLungĂ©â€™s watercolors have a tactile quality that engages all
of the senses: one smells the dust carried by the wind, hears the snorting
horse, or senses the serenity of the solitary shepherd,â€ť wrote former
Museum of Northern Arizona Art Curator Katherin Chase. â€śHis
style is uniqueâ€”his warmth is sincereâ€”his ability to capture the
spirit of a land, of a people, is rare. It is seldom that an artist
attains that magical spirit, that ritualistic air, that sensitivity
of appreciation for an environment. The artistâ€™s style is romanticâ€”almost
mystical, for often only the essential elements of a scene are conveyed,
and thus the imagination of the viewer is called into play.â€ť
For two decades after moving to Arizona, Jeffrey LungĂ© had a
career of unparalleled success. He had yearly one-man art shows
in Scottsdale; every painting sold. They were bought by prominent
families like the Goldwaters and the Babbitts, institutions like the
Arizona Bank (now part of Bank of America), and ordinary collectors
moved by the Southwest and the skills of the artist. He hung up
his brush in the late 1980s, and died in 1993. He is buried in
the red Sedona soil with family, including his brother-in-law, Ned Danson.
The Navajo and Hopi, introduced to him by Danson, feature prominently
in many of Jeffrey LungĂ©â€™s paintings. And Jeffrey treated them
with respect. Knowing that the Hopi disliked photography or sketching
at their ceremonies, Jeffrey painted the scenes he saw from memory.
When Hopi opinion changed so that they no longer wanted outside artists
depicting their ceremonies, Jeffrey LungĂ© respected their wishes.
His later Hopi works focused on people in their everyday lives.
As Danson supported LungĂ© in life, he also supports him
at this event. Along with Jeffrey LungĂ©: Visions of the Southwest, we will also be selling Edward Bridge Danson:
Steward of the New West, a biography of Ned Danson, sharing the
remarkable adventures including a voyage across the world on a sailing
ship in his youth and service in the South Pacific during World War
II, all leading to a long life and career in Arizona, the very Arizona
that Jeffrey LungĂ© portrayed so expertly in his paintings. All
profits from the sale of both books will go to support an academic chair
in Ned Dansonâ€™s name at the Museum of Northern Arizona.
â€śEach person that views one of my paintings becomes a partner
in the adventure of reconstructing the essence of the subject,â€ť Jeffrey
wrote. Join that partnership at the Sedona Public Library on Sunday,
April 14 at 4:00PM. I think youâ€™ll enjoy it.
Library News appears each Friday in the Red Rock News and is also presented on Sedona Biz.
Eric Penner Haury is a Sedona Public Library Volunteer.